Meet Jamison Watson, a Summer 2015 Critical Language Scholar!

Jamison Watson (left), at the Shaolin Temple in Zhengzhou, China.

August 18, 2015

Jamison Watson, Master's student in Agricultural and Biological Engineering, completed an intensive Mandarin program in Xi'an, China, this summer on the Critical Language Scholarship.  The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is a fully-funded overseas language and cultural immersion program for American undergraduate and graduate students.  The CLS is a program of the U.S. Department of State and is open to U.S. citizens who seek enhanced language and cultural expertise for careers in all fields.  Jamison shared a bit about his summer as a Critical Language Scholar in China:

"This summer I studied Mandarin at Shaanxi Normal University in Xi'an, China as a recipient of the Critical Language Scholarship. My experience was life changing. Not only was I able to dramatically improve my proficiency in Mandarin due to the rigorous courses and the instituted language pledge, I was also able to gain a greater appreciation for Chinese culture by visiting historic cities, learn the basics of traditional Chinese exercise through Taiji class, and learn basic Chinese cooking techniques at a culinary institute.

In the short term, I plan on using my Mandarin skills to read (and hopefully one day write) scientific papers in Mandarin. I'm currently applying for the Fulbright Fellowship with the aim of conducting renewable fuel research in Beijing, China. In the long term, my aspiration is to work for the Department of Energy as a liaison between China and the United States to work towards advancing international renewable fuel technology for a brighter, greener future."

The 2016 CLS application will become available in the fall. For more information about the Critical Language Scholarship, and for assistance with your application, please contact us at topscholars@illinois.edu.